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Showing posts from March, 2013

The Birthday Sessions: The 2013 Spring Playlist, Vol. 1

For those of you planning to hunt for Easter eggs or soak up the season premiere of  Game of Thrones this Sunday, please save a sliver of your time to help me celebrate another year on this planet. Food and drink will be had, but if you know me, it's all about the music. Here are just some of the jams that I will be blaring throughout my special weekend as I geek out down at WonderCon in Anaheim, consume copious amounts of junk food on Saturday night, and get reasonably sloshed on Sunday afternoon while surrounded by loved ones. 1. "Natalie" by Bruno Mars 2. "Chocolate" by The 1975 : 3. "Rhythm of the Night" by Bastille 4. "Remix (I Like The)" by New Kids On The Block 5. "I Was A Fool" by Tegan and Sara 6. "Blank Page" by Christina Aguilera 7. "Here It Comes" by Emeili Sande: 8. "Sweet Love" by Jess Mills 9. "Mirrors" by Justin Timberlake 10. "Chemistry

'White House Down': The Roland Emmerich Movie Trailer Formula

After yesterday's historic and opinionated events, let's get back to some fluff, shall we? The trailer for the Channing Tatum-Jamie Foxx action-thriller, White House Down , has debuted this week, and if you're a fan of Roland Emmerich's tentpole films ( Independence Day , The Day After Tomorrow , 2012 ), I'm sure you'll be salivating over this one. Washington D.C. gets attacked, and it's up to one man, a former secret service agent (Tatum), to protect the POTUS (Foxx) and save the day. No, this isn't a reboot of this month's Olympus Has Fallen . For all you trailer junkies out there, you may have noticed a formula regarding the previews for Emmerich's films. Step 1: Open with news soundbites of reporters announcing Something Big going down. Step 2:  Reveal an iconic shot that will establish what we're dealing with. Step 3: Bring down the noise considerably so we can gather our thoughts and feel the tension mounting. Step 4: Remind

In Response To The Symbols Opposing The Red Equality Signs

Regarding the red crucifixes and other symbols that are starting to pop up across Facebook (luckily I have yet to see one of my "friends" use it, and I choose not to share it here)... Those who have set this opposing symbol as their profile picture have the right to do so because they live in a country that allows them the privilege to express their beliefs. However, they also continue to define an institution within a religious context with religious terms (granted, it's hard not to). Therefore I can't help but rightfully express my own frustration over the fact that this same institution is continually governed by such religions when our own government was created in a way so that these organized belief systems do not interfere with how the law is laid down. (Three words, kids: Separation. Church. State.) Crack open a history book and look up John Locke : the man was all about ruling with an "individual conscience" and reminding people that "faith

If 'Happy Endings' Gets Canceled, My Heart Will Shrivel Up And Die

Actually, it would be like watching my best friends drive off a cliff in a party bus while I'm tied to a tree, helpless and screaming for them to be saved. ABC, don't murder my friends. @TheFirstEcho

Anatomy of a Series Finale: CBS's 'Partners' Tapes Its Last Episode

It's the night before Thanksgiving, and I'm on the set of CBS's cancelled sitcom Partners , the latest creation from Will & Grace masterminds Max Mutchnick and David Kohan. Stars Michael Urie ( Ugly Betty ), Brandon Routh ( Superman Returns ), David Krumholtz ( Numb3rs ), and Sophia Bush ( One Tree Hill ) stand in a fake but awesomely decorated living room, glancing at each other and taking it all in, because this is the last time they'll be on this stage, reading from these scripts, and working with this crew. It's the nature of the beast that is the television business. It's like the last day of summer camp: the fun festivities come to an end, new friends are forced to go their separate ways, and no one knows what the next several months will bring. I'm guilty of being one of those viewers who tuned in for the first couple of episodes of this promising new show. The ensemble was great and charismatic to the nth degree. But unfortunately, shi

Help Free Tilda Swinton From Her Glass Prison At The MoMA

The art world, particularly the Museum of Modern Art in New York , got a huge boost in publicity recently when Tilda Swinton unveiled her art installation in which she... sleeps in a glass case . Interpret it however you like -- and feel free to take a picture with the slumbering Oscar winner if you're in the Tri-State area this week. In the meantime, I'm going to take this opportunity to meme it up in support of the actress's brave endeavor with this mock t-shirt. I think it would match nicely with a black blazer and jeans, don't you? @TheFirstEcho

Theme Song of the Month: March & April 2013

To all of my fellow early pop adopters out there, you should feel justified now that Kelly Clarkson & Co. will be releasing "People Like Us" as an official single. The track was buried underneath the songs featured on her Greatest Hits album that came out last fall. Those who checked out this bonus tune were immediately sucked into its empowering and anthemic sensibilty. Just how epically awesome is it? I'm labeling it as my theme song for two (2!) months. True, I've been jamming to it since December, but it's one of those songs that just gets better the more you play it. "People Like Us" (not to be confused as a theme song for last summer's Chris Pine-Elizabeth Banks dramedy) opens with a pretty bold declaration, and from there, it blows up with lyrics about "turning it up louder when the flames get higher," "keeping your head up," and joining forces to conquer a "world on fire." Just listen: Some

I Was In A Room With Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman & Angela Bassett

This past Monday I had the privilege of being invited to a small press conference for  Olympus Has Fallen , starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Rick Yune, Angela "Lookin' Fine" Bassett, and Dylan "Hot for 51" McDermott. All six actors, including director Antoine Fuqua, were all in attendance at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. I was seated in the second row, ten feet away from a line-up of talent that was, needless to say, awe-inspiring. Truly awe-inspiring was Ms. Bassett. The woman looked flawless, not having aged a day since What's Love Got To Do With It . My interview piece is up and running over at Hotter In Hollywood ( yep, I'm still running that ship too ). And my actual review of the film can be found HERE . Enjoy. @TheFirstEcho

7 Awesomely Bad TV Reunion Movies You Probably Forgot About

TV reunion movies are a thing of the past. Nowadays TV shows (and their cast of characters) are either revived as an overblown summer tentpole ( Sex and the City ), a complete reboot for "a new generation" ( 90210 , Melrose Place, Dallas ), a streaming-only series for Netflix subscribers ( Arrested Development ), or a Kickstarter-fueled major motion picture ( Veronica Mars ). Gone are the days when networks could pump out a TV movie-of-the-week, usually during sweeps, and bring beloved characters back to the small screen for some kind of momentous occasion. Hence why I've been waxing nostalgic on several made-for-TV reunion movies that capitalized on my fondness for the past. From the ages of 8 to 14, I shamelessly lived for this crap, and now I grieve for the format because it appears to be on the brink of total extinction (thanks 21st century). However, back then, not all reunions were perfect as you'll see below... 1. A Very Brady Christmas (1988)

10 TV Shows In Need a Kickstarter-Fueled Comeback

Now that the cast and creator of Veronica Mars have succeeded in reaching — and surpassing — their goal of raising a cool $2 million to produce and shoot a big-screen adaptation of the cult TV drama (with its original cast!), the inevitable is upon us: dozens and dozens of Kickstarter campaigns thinking they can raise a crapload of money and flood people’s inboxes and news feeds with donation requests. For anyone living in Los Angeles, this may sound familiar with friends who seem to work on a new independent project every other month . This recent and growing phenomenon brings up a lot of talking points and demonstrates how powerful and influential a singular fanbase can be. It also proves that it doesn’t hurt to have a few solid connections in Tinseltown; according to some naysayers, the rate at which the Veronica Mars funds came pouring in is a little too crazy to be true. Regardless, this slice of pop culture goodness has gotten me excited for the revival of everyone’s favo

I Need a 'Veronica Mars' Movie Like I Need My Coffee (Now)

Geek dreams do come true. If this indeed happens, and $2 million buckaroos are indeed raised to produce this fan-fueled project, I will be one happy marshmallow. A feature-film adaptation of Veronica Mars , a cult TV show about a highly resourceful and plucky detective? With the original cast? It's possible. And for you fellow fanatics out there, if the money is raised, Warner Bros. will cover the marketing costs. If that isn't enough incentive, then slap me silly and call me Wallace Fennel (who's noticeably absent in the below presentation). Not only is this the biggest Kickstarter goal for a movie, this is also one of the best Kickstarter videos I've ever seen: @TheFirstEcho

'Jurassic Park' Turns 20: A Look Back At One Of The Movies That Changed My Life

On the night before my 7th grade class trip to the Norwalk Aquarium in Connecticut, I saw a movie that would leave an impression on me for rest of my life... June 10, 1993 was a Thursday. My mother worked late nights on Thursdays, and my 13-year-old self was determined to catch one of the preview screenings of the new Steven Spielberg blockbuster, Jurassic Park , "an adventure 65 millions years in the making." I called up my local theaters to see what showtimes were available -- remember, this was before MovieFone and those convenient movie ticket apps -- and tracked down a 10pm showing at Bay Plaza's General Cinemas in the Bronx, a swift 12-minute drive from the southern banks of New Rochelle. With my dad away at a business dinner, I waited for my mother to come home from work, and exhausted as she might have been, she was up for taking me to the late screening on a school night. We hopped in her Pontiac 6000-LE and trekked down to the Bronx where we waited in lin

Why 'Smash' Reminds Me of the 1994 Disaster That Was 'Models Inc.'

Call me crazy, but Smash reminds me a lot of the one-season wonder that was Fox's Models Inc (1994-95). You know, that Aaron Spelling sudser about a group of attractive people dealing with first-world problems in post-Recession times? It was created in an attempt to prolong the soapy high left by the guiltiest of 90s guilty pleasures, Melrose Place . One could argue that NBC's  Smash was created in a similar fashion, as a network's attempt to capitalize on a trend, the TV musical, one that was sparked by that shiny happy franchise known as Glee (and look at that, it's on Fox). Both shows have gone through some sizable tweaking (showrunner switcheroos!) to rejuvenate storylines and ramp up ratings. And so far, it isn't working for the NBC showtuner, just like it didn't work for that pretty piece of Clinton-era trash starring a post- Dallas Linda Gray. While Fox had the patience to stick it out with Models for an impressive 32 episodes, NBC looks like

All Kinds of Awesome: New Kids On The Block and...Shakespeare?

This week delivered some pleasant surprises in the viral world. First up is the new music video from New Kids On The Block . It's for "Remix (I Like The)," the first single from their forthcoming new album. The video perfectly encapsulates what every female fan in her 30s must feel like whenever the iPod randomly shuffles to "The Right Stuff." It's a fantastic (and empowering) nod to nostalgia and should become an anthem for all wallflowers. And the song? It kind of kicks ass.  Who frickin' knew? Then there's the unparalleled awesomeness of Joss Whedon . Yesterday the Buffy creator released the trailer for his contemporary, black-and-white adaptation of the Bard's Much Ado About Nothing , which features nearly every actor who has ever appeared on his TV shows ( Angel , Dollhouse , Firefly ). In other words, Wesley and Fred alert! And if you're wondering, that sexy song is courtesy of "Rose Rouge" by St. Germain.

8 Excuses Actors Give to Explain Their Film Role Choices (and What They Really Mean)

I've been attending press junkets, interviewing actors, and reviewing movies on a regular basis now for the past two years, and there's only so many questions about an actor's reason for choosing a role that you can ask. But it comes with the territory. Inquiring minds want to know, and soon you'll find yourself hearing the same responses over and over until you feel like hurling the digital recorder across the room, storming out of the hospitality suite, and screaming, "I'm done with this business!" Here are eight typical answers I've heard repeated at various press well as my interpretation of each soundbite. Feel free to match famous names with any of the following: 1. "The director. I'm such a huge fan of his films. I've always wanted to work with him." TRANSLATION: I needed to clean up my tarnished reputation after TMZ caught me on a bender in West Hollywood, and this guy's filmmaking pedigree is just what

Pop Culture Rant of the Week: A Harlem Shake with a Side of Fries

Snooki lost 42 pounds according to the recent cover of US Weekly . Translation: she misplaced the 10 bottles of Jaegermeister and 14 bottles of tequila she needs to pre-game this weekend. The track list for Beyonce 's new album has leaked and features more guest stars than a season of  The Love Boat ,  Fantasy Island , and  Will & Grace  combined. "You guys, enough with the ' Harlem Shake ' videos!" Sincerely, the Internet. Olympus Has Fallen opens in theaters this month. It's an action thriller about terrorists who hijack the White House and hold the POTUS for ransom. That's Hollywood for you: producing how-to guides for Al-Qaeda and everyone else who hates America. All My Children is finally coming back -- as a web series -- much to the relief of housewives, college students, and little boys who wish to grow up and become Erica Kane. That's not a cliffhanger...that's just your media player buffering . Taylor Swift 's interv

Did You Know I Have An Online Portfolio? It's True.

You can check out a sampling of the viral content I've produced (Dancing shirtless werewolves!) along with the various wordage and copy I've written for clients (Gaga!), publications (my recent cover story with Grimm star David Giuntoli for  Bello Mag ), and websites (Woody Allen, nice to meet you). Introducing The First Echo Folio... here . @TheFirstEcho

Waking Up With Daniel Radcliffe and Lena Dunham

Having neglected some magazines that have been sitting on my bedroom floor, I spent my Saturday morning catching up on some celeb journalism...and attempting to start the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy before any trailers or images from the upcoming movie leak and further taint my imagination. The Lena Dunham interview in Entertainment Weekly , written by Melissa Maerz, does a good job addressing all of the privileged-white-girl criticism Dunham immediately received after Girls premiered last year. However, the journalist in me would love to ask her, being that she's super self-aware and self-analytical, if she thinks she'll look back on her 20s when she's in her 30s and cringe at something's she said or written ( this coming from a writer who's still adjusting to his 30s and is starting to notice things in hindsight ). But something tells me the girl isn't a fan of regret and accepts everything as a life lesson. In other words, I'd love to